If you missed the Salesforce Industries Summit for Retail, Consumer Goods and Manufacturing in September, you may not have heard how customers are now looking for omnichannel experiences.
Retailers are learning how much has changed since the pandemic began, and are uncovering new ways to use technology to grow sales revenue.
NewStore is a mobile POS solution that uses Salesforce and iPhones to empower salespeople with tools to make in-store sales smarter than ever before. As part of a Salesforce session, they shared their latest customer research into omnichannel experiences. A year into the pandemic, NewStore checked in with customers to see where their expectations for in-store experiences were at. They found:
- 54% of customers wanted in-store assistants to have mobile sales devices.
- 66% of customers want salespeople to be able to know what is in stock without having to leave their side.
- 68% of customers wanted to be able to buy from another store while in-store and be able to pick it up from wherever they preferred.
- 57% of customers wanted to have a mixed cart checkout, blending an in-store purchase, with an online purchase and shipping.
If the NewStore research is any indication, customer expectations have indeed changed significantly. Let’s explore some of the stories from other global retailers that are connecting with audiences by blending their offline and online experiences and using data to better meet customers needs.
Swedish bed manufacturer Hastens created virtual experiences to engage their customers
For over 170 years, Swedish bed manufacturer Hastens has put their customers at the centre of everything they do to make the best, handcrafted beds anywhere in the world. Driven by their desire to make the world a better place and give people their best possible sleep, the company began its digital transformation a little over two years ago.
Hastens recently hired its first Chief Customer Officer to ensure a consistent customer experience was engaging customers both online and offline.
With a more modern system, salespeople could contact customers in new ways, and keep better track of where leads were at. They can also work from anywhere. One salesperson even met a customer in a local park to go for a walk to make a sale, when they weren’t able to meet in-store due to lockdown restrictions.
Their creative team also developed a way for customers to make and design their own bed online, in a really fast, smooth and fun way. Customers say what they have seen, and Hastens sleep coaches can get them started and talk them through the ins and outs of the different bed options. The whole process of customising their bed options can take just a few minutes versus the usual half an hour.
Outdoors experts Orvis turned to content and AI to win more traction online
Beginning in 1856, the family-owned business Orvis was one of the first companies in the US to provide a catalogue, for its range of quality fly-fishing products. With a deep love for the outdoors, the company has values centred around conservation that have been with them since they first began.
In their discussion during Dreamforce, we learned that they first responded to the pandemic by right-sizing inventory and honing in on what people were buying. For example, they stocked more products for “above the waist” as customers seemed to only care that their top-half was looking good on Zoom.
They turned the dial up on their content to engage with customers further. Their ideas included 30-second videos of meditative shots of nature for an all natural ‘breather’ from the rest of their day. They also helped find ways for customers to reconnect with the outdoors in their own local areas, providing ideas for “mini-adventures”.
But the company truly embraced omnichannel experiences when they built up an extensive content library of their hero and top products. The content answered many of their customers’ typical questions and showed the gear in use. They featured celebrities and combined learning and entertainment to engage their audiences.
They connected their content library to AI, giving them the power to serve customers content in a predictive way, and helping to meet a need at just the right time. Data-driven content delivery proved to be a successful approach for the Orvis team.
Ethan Allen used data to better understand their customers and give them virtual tools
Home furnishings are one category that customers usually prefer to see in-store, with factors to take in around the tone and the texture of furniture pieces. But established brand, Ethan Allen knew that they needed to find a way to make people feel comfortable making purchases virtually.
With a large team of experienced interior designers, their CEO invested in live chat, video chat, augmented reality, 3D modelling and 3D room planners. All of these technologies were integrated on the back end with a 360 degree Salesforce CRM suite.
The technology actually helped Ethan Allen to grow beyond their usual customer base and reach millions of new customers helping them to grow despite facing lockdown situations. The team are now exploring new ways for smarter data analysis to help them enter an era of personalised predictive marketing.
Preparing for a changed retail landscape
Salesforce offers retailers a single source of truth about their customers, and a place to integrate the many disparate retail systems together to provide a more fluid customer experience, wherever your customer might be. Data-driven decision making and efficient processes can help your salespeople keep interactions meaningful and effective any time they communicate with customers.
Are you getting the most out of your Salesforce experience? Chat with us to find out about omnichannel customer experiences that you could be offering through your brand.